The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme has cost the state over €2 billion so far in wage supports for businesses affected by the pandemic.

This is according to the latest statistics published by Revenue. 

Since the EWSS was launched in September to replace the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Government has disbursed €1.744 billion in wage subsidies for 505,600 employees, with a further €303m in PRSI foregone due to the reduced PRSI rate on the payroll supports.  

45,900 employers have registered for the EWSS. 

This figures includes 1,400 "re-registrations", but excludes 2,500 employers who registered and subsequently cancelled their registrations. 

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme last September, and allows employers to claim government subsidies towards the wages of their staff. 

It is due to end on March 31, though it was announced in Budget 2021 that supports to employers would be extended to the end of this year.  

The scheme is intended to encourage the maintenance of the employment link between employers and employees during the disruption caused by the pandemic, rather than seeing workers laid off and entirely dependent on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. 

To qualify, firms must be facing a collapse in turnover of at least 30%. 

While initially there was a significant time lag of up to six weeks in processing payment of wage subsidies to employers, the payment schedule was revised late last year, to ensure speedier delivery and boost cashflow for businesses.